Parents’ Voice is targeting fast food outlets that offer soft drinks as part of children’s meal deals.

Parents say they expect water to be the default option with kids meals but are often left in a sticky situation when their child is offered a soft drink instead.

Fast food outlets are being urged to take a ‘responsible role’

Parents’ Voice is targeting McDonald’s, Hungry Jack’s, Red Rooster, Pizza Hut, Oporto, KFC and Chicken Treat, claiming they are breaching a healthy advertising code.

73 per cent of Australian children exceed World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for added sugar intake.

But the Australian Food and Grocery Council says that the proposed change would be a “stretch” and that the current options available to families are sufficient, reports ABC news.

The council’s acting chief executive Dr Geoffrey Annison says while water would be a more popular choice, he rejected the idea that there was a default drink served with meals.

“All parents have a choice when they go to the counter. They can choose water or they can choose milk or they can choose soft drinks,” Dr Annison said. “These outlets are catering to a broad community so they need to maintain a choice.”

“We need to promote the dietary guidelines which do support water as the first drink of choice but of course other drinks do have a role including soft drinks as a treat.”

The Subway restaurant chain has signed on to the plan and now only provides soft drinks with children’s meals on request.

Associate Professor Matthew Hopcraft from Melbourne University is part of the campaign and says sugary drinks are having a deep impact on children’s health, through obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay.

“We know that these companies need to be taking more of a responsible role in offering a healthy alternative and offering water and not offering a soft drink to a five- or six-year-old kid as part of their so-called happy meal for example,” he said.

“There is a strong link between sugar consumption and poor health outcomes.

“One in two kids by the age of six have tooth decay in their baby teeth so it’s very extreme and then there’s obesity and there’s type 2 diabetes.”

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  • the parents are the ones that should be taking the responsibilty as the companies are only partially responsible for trying to cater to the supply and demand factor


  • The fast food outlets we go to offer pop tops of fruit juice drink (not full strength juice) or bottled water with kid’s meals. They don’t have to drink all of it at the same time or waste it. If we buy them it is normally on the way home if we are late for some reason and they clean their teeth afterwards.


  • I support this but feel it’s up to the parents to enforce it.


  • I do support this but it is still up to the parents to say no to sugary drinks. Make a choice available and let the parents choose the drink not the child.


  • I think that giving children soft drinks is just irresponsible parenting. There is absolutely no need to have soft drinks as part of your child’s or even your own diet. I very, very rarely will have soft drink myself and never offer any to my children. For my daughter being allowed to have a juice is a special treat because we mustn’t forget that fruit juice can have almost as much sugar in it as a soft drink so too much can be just as bad. However, juice at least has some vitamins and other health benefits where as soft drinks have absolutely none.


  • It really annoys me that coke is the option with meal deals. JUICE is a much better alternatively, or even “water” should be given as a substitute. I welcome a SUGAR tax.


  • It’s all about parents making the right decisions. You don’t have to order the soft drink with the meal but can choose water, juice, or any other option.


  • Yes I do support it, cheers.


  • I am all for the healthy eating campaign and I think water should be an available option fir children’s meals. However, when I am home, we all eat well. We hardly ever eat fast food so I don’t think it hurts us to have a soft drink when we do. It should be up to the parents I think


  • I think it’s up to the parents to decide what their kids drink. An occasional soft drink is not bad but if it’s a regular thing that is another story. Saying that my kids don’t like soft drink, thankfully, so they never pester me for it.


  • Yep, totally support this campaign !


  • Water is a better health option compared to soft drinks for kids.


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